Effects of deoxynivalenol-contaminated diets on metabolic and immunological parameters in broiler chickens
Pérez-Vendrell, Anna Maria
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The current study was conducted to examine the effects of deoxynivalenol (DON) at different levels (5 and 15 mg/kg feed) on the metabolism, immune response and welfare parameters of male broiler chickens (Ross 308) at 42 days old. Forty-five 1 day-old broiler chickens were randomly distributed into three different dietary treatments: (1) control, (2) DON-contaminated diet with 5 mg DON/kg of feed (guidance level), and (3) DON-contaminated diet with 15 mg DON/kg of feed. Five replicated cages with three birds each were used for each treatment in a randomized complete block design. The results showed that DON was detected in excreta of birds fed contaminated diets compared with controls. The metabolite DON-3 sulphate (DON-3S) was detected in plasma and excreta in both treated groups, as well as in the liver (but only at 15 mg/kg feed). The increase in the level of DON decreased the hemoglobin concentration (p < 0.001), whereas the erythrocyte counts were only decreased at 15 mg DON/kg feed. No effect of DON on the responses to common vaccines was observed. In plasma, interleukin 8 levels in both contaminated groups were significantly higher than in the control group. The expression of interleukin 6, interleukin 1β and interferon-γ increased in jejunum tissues of broilers fed 5 mg/kg of DON compared with controls. The stress index (heterophil to lymphocyte ratio) was not affected by DON-contaminated diets compared with controls. The plasma corticosterone level was significantly lower in both DON groups compared with controls. In conclusion, DON-3S could be used as a specific biomarker of DON in different biological matrices, while the immune response in broiler chickens is stimulated by the presence of DON at the guidance level, but no adverse effect was observed on physiological stress parameters.